Remembering a Good Friend

Jadon Gibson

While I was thinking about Christmas, New Year’s and giving I recalled an old friend of yesteryear.

Alden Palmer was 84 years old when he died in 1972 but we became friends from our first meeting. I’m sure it was true of most everyone because it would be hard not to like Mr. Palmer.

He had gone to Indianapolis, Indiana, early in the 1900’s, working for $5 a week, before rising from through the ranks to become chairman of the board of Research and Review Service. They specialized in management planning and development. Alden wrote a regular news letter for many years, even continuing after his retirement when he moved near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. There were many subscribers to his newsletter because of the way he explained modern business practices in a downhome way. He also served as the Indiana insurance commissioner at one time.

Mr. Palmer always took hold of things by the smooth handle and he had a way to make people feel comfortable. I had him to come to our town of Rolla, Missouri, one time to give a speech. It just happened that I had to be in Springfield 90 miles away taking an exam and I apologized in advance for having to miss his visit.

“I had a nice meeting with the folks down there,” he wrote in a letter the following week. “There were very few out for the meeting but they were all mighty fine folks. It was a privilege to be with them.”

Mr. Palmer always had something interesting to say and he often commented about the weather.

“Things are coming along okay considering,” he wrote me on February 16, 1971. “That is considering we had a miserable corn crop on account of the drought and considering the low price of hogs. However the sun is beginning to shine agriculturally speaking. Hogs are now in the early 20’s and beef cattle is way up so maybe this year will show a nice profit.”

Six months later the picture he painted in his letter wasn’t as rosy but he found a humorous way to get his message across.

“We still need some rain,” he wrote me in August of that year. “Last evening it rained a good shower only 3/8’s of a mile away, down at the intersection. We got only about two dozen drops here actually. I figure we are paying the preacher far too much for he is sure not doing right by us.”

Mr. Palmer was at his best when he was talking about his family and growing up in the late 1900’s. I still remember sitting with him on his porch swing when he told me about a gift from the heart, a story about “unselfish and abiding love” as he called it.

“Jadon, my Uncle Tuck and Aunt Mitty Kimball had been married well over fifty years when he passed away,” Alden started talking in his easy manner. “A few weeks later my grandmother had us all over for Sunday dinner. Aunt Mitty was there too and I will never forget what she told my grandmother that day.”

Alden said she daubed her eye with a handkerchief before speaking.

“Tuck always liked chicken,” Mitty began. “It was his favorite meal, in fact he said jokingly that he would have become a Methodist preacher if the opportunity had presented itself.

“Somehow he got the idea when we got married that I didn’t like the dark meat. Now I got the idea that he didn’t like the white so I always saved the dark for him and he always made sure I got the breast and pullybones. When Tuck took sick I stewed him up a big hen and fixed him a plate of drumsticks, thighs and dumplings. It shocked me when he asked if he could have a piece of the breast. He said he really liked the white meat a little better than the dark.

“Granny, for over fifty years we both ate the pieces of chicken we didn’t relish the most – just ‘cause we thought the other didn’t like it.”

Mr. Palmer said he had fine memories of his Uncle Tuck and Aunt Mitty and the simple example of their unselfish and abiding love… their Gift from the Heart. Copyright 2019 Jadon Gibson

Editor’s note; Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read periodically at Don’t miss a single posting!

A Voice for God – A Voice for Good

My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me.

After a good night of sleep and sitting on the side of the bed you wouldn’t think something bad was about to happen.

It was about 1997 when I bent over and reached to my left to get my shoes. At that time I had a moderate to strong cough and I immediately had a terrific pain on the right side of my back. I had heard of people knocking their back out and concluded that’s what happened to me.”

The pain was so strong I could barely move and it had taken my breath away. I allowed myself to roll back onto the bed… out of breath, in terrible pain and practically unable to move.

My wife was at work and I was about 30 to 40 feet away from our nearest phone. I just lay there for a while. I knew I couldn’t walk but there was a bench by the bed. I rolled onto the bench and pushed to the kitchen where I called my wife and broke the news to her.

Dr. George Day of Harrogate has been my doctor for years. We set up appointments for physical therapy with Dr. Mary Moon. With each appointment I improved and after three weeks or so my back was back to normal.

A different but similar thing happened the following summer. I was walking in our yard and stepped into a hole, a slight depression in our yard. It knocked my back out again and it was back to Mary Moon for more appointments.

Dr. Day suggested that I take up a regular exercise regimen such as swimming, walking or bike riding. Walking was the easiest to work into our schedule so Chris and I walked every day. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is nearby and they have numerous trails. During inclement weather we walked inside Turner Arena at Lincoln Memorial University.

As time progressed we sped up and did fast walking and one day I decided to break into a jog of a hundred steps and then increased it regularly. At first I would pause periodically for Chris to catch up but after a while she was keeping up without help from me. Keep in mind we didn’t run as we did when younger. It was a slow run… a jog but we were able to cover much greater distances than when we walked. This greatly strengthened our bodies and no more back problems. I even did isometric hand exercises as we jogged to strengthen my hands and arms, preventing the advent of arthritis. Jogging or walking has many other health benefits. We also get a good tan while exercising.

Some people do less when they develop a problem as I did with my back. Some older folks (hey, I’m 77 years old) do very little. You’ve heard many times ‘if you don’t use it you lose it.’ Really you gain a lot by taking up walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike, whatever is right for you. I recommend it wholeheartedly but don’t try to do too much too soon. Some folks should check with their doctor.

Our good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. He led us into a regular exercise program and it has kept us active longer. Whatever your status or station in life He will help you along your way if you keep him in your heart and thank Him for His graces.

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